Dec 6, 2011

December in Palestinian history

December in Palestinian history is replete with important events*:

- December 1908: Palestinian villagers of Kafr Kama (near Tiberias) tried to reclaim land taken unfairly by the "Jewish Colonisation Association" (yes that was its actual name).
- 9 December 1917, British forces marched into Jerusalem to begin over three decades of repressive occupation that devastated the country and left an apartheid system in its wake.
- 14 December 1920: Third Congress of the Arab Executive Committee meets in Haifa and declares opposition to the Balfour Declaration and to Zionist plans for Palestine.
- December 1921: The Jewish Zionist Herbert Samuel appointed by the British as a "High Commissioner" of Palestine makes decrees allowing transfer of native Arab land ownership to the European Zionist movement.
- 7-17 December 1931: general Islamic conference held in Jerusalem attended by 145 key Islamic scholars and leaders from 22 countries.
- 13 December 1931: leaders of the previous organisation Al-Arabiya Al-Fatat and supporters of independence were mobilised and 50 of them met in the home of Awni Abd Hadi and drafted an Arab nationalist covenant. This document re-emphasised the regional Arab context for the struggle for Palestine as a joint effort against imperialism )this movement evolved later in 1933to form Hizb Al-Istiqlal).
- 9 December 1935: Palestinian strategy meetings and popular gatherings were held to commemorate the anniversary of the British occupation recognized as the beginning stirrings of the intifada/uprising of 1936-1939.
- December 1936: Michel Mitri, the most recognised Palestinian labour leader of the period, was assassinated by Zionist forces. He had dared to challenge the monopoly/hegemony of the Histadrut (Zionist labour federation) and always believed in popular resistance activities (non-violent).
- 2-4 December 1947: Three-day Palestinian general strike to reject the unfair conditions of a partition resolution at the UN which allocated 55% of the land to Jews who constituted less than a third of the population and were mostly new migrants (many illegal).
- 31 December 1947: Zionist forces massacred 60 villagers in Balad Al-Sheikh (Haifa district). Dozens of villages were "cleansed" in this December wave. Massacres were committed in Al-Tira, Haifa, Balad el-Sheikh, Yehiday, Khisas, and Qazaza.  Between December 1st 1947 and May 14, 1948 (the date, the Zionists unilaterally declared their state), over half of the Palestinian refugee population was created.  Thus, half of the 530 village and towns were ethnically cleansed while the area was still supposedly under British rule and protection (another British government treachery).
- 1 December 1948: The (British appointed) King of Jordan convened a conference in Jericho of unelected Palestinian elites who were to profit from agreeing to his annexation of what became known as the West Bank of Jordan. Later, the Jordanian monarch and his British Army commander turned the Negev and the Galilee over to Israel to allow the further expansion of the nascent state. The ancient name of Palestine was thus erased on both sides of what was to be called the Green Line (the armistice line)
- 2 December 1961: Arab students at the Hebrew University convened and established the Arab Jewish Committee ‘to end the military rule’ (the few remaining Palestinians inside the new state of Israel were under military rule from 1948-1966).
-December 1975: Israeli occupation forces raid Al-Qassaba area of Nablus killing nonviolent protesters.
- December 1986: Israeli soldiers chase students inside Birzeit university and used live ammunition, killing two and injuring twelve students.
- December 1987: demonstrations throughout Palestine and dozens of civilians (most under 18) were murdered.
- 13 December 1988: Arafat addressed the UNGA meeting in Geneva and stated that all parties should live in peace and security ‘including the state of Palestine, Israel, and other neighbours’.
- 15 December 1988: The Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People (PCR) issued an invitation to Internationals (including Israelis) to Beit Sahour to help break the siege and curfew.  This was the beginnings of what evolved into the International Solidarity Movement.
- mid-December 1992: Israel took the unprecedented step of ordering the deportation to Lebanon of 416 Palestinians (an act contrary to international law).  They stayed near the border in tents provided by the Red Cross and resisted the deportation.

I could go on but as can be seen December is as any other period in history brings up both sad memories of atrocities as well as memories of resilience and persistence and resistance of ordinary people. As we look to 2012, we hope that what is left of December will see more of the latter actions. There is a genuine popular resistance movement in the Arab world. But, as happened previously there are those who try to profit from other people's work by posing only for the cameras or in conference rooms or worse yet engage in destroying the resistance while speaking about it in positive terms. There is a counter-revolutionary movement by forces allied with the US, with the apartheid regime (otherwise known as Israel), and with the cleptocracy (otherwise known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). There is an effort (which I think and hope will fail) to co-opt these revolutions.  Some in the West (goaded on by Israeli lobbies) now speak openly of "allowing" Islamic forces to take over and in return insist that each new government ignores its people's wishes and continue to support (or even increase) its support of Israel and allow "Free Market" businesses to continue to get rich people richer and poor people poorer.  Libyan elites indeed were very open about this as are some opposition forces in Syria blessed by the US.  The recent interview with a Mr. Ghalyoun of the Syrian opposition that appeared on the pages of the Wall Street Journal is an indication of such co-opted individuals.  But we are hearing more rational voices from Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Libya and elsewhere that is against dictatorships and for real democracy (which means isolating racist apartheid regimes).  We must support all these people and demand real democracy.

Let there be no mistake about it, hundreds of millions of dollars are being mobilized and intelligence services and diplomatic and business "teams" are very busy shuttling back and forth to ensure this outcome. There is also a game of regional interests and some groups watching their own interests (Iran, Hezbollah, Turkey etc.).   There are also dirty games of divide and conquer and false-flag operations.  In all this mayhem, better awareness and education are critical. People who do not become aware and engage in serious work will go extinct (or at least continue to be impoverished) in the wild foggy jungle.

 Palestinian Center for Human Rights: PLO’s Refusal to Pursue Accountability at UN Exhibits Disregard for Victims of Gaza Conflict

From Occupation to “Occupy”: The Israelification of American Domestic Security" By Max Blumenthal
"Given the amount of training the NYPD and so many other police forces have received from Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus, and the profuse levels of gratitude American police chiefs have expressed to their Israeli mentors, it is worth asking how much Israeli instruction has influenced the way the police have attempted to suppress the Occupy movement, and how much it will inform police repression of future upsurges of street protest. But already, the Israelification of American law enforcement appears to have intensified police hostility towards the civilian population, blurring the lines between protesters, common criminals, and terrorists."…

As an example of what Max is talking about, here is an example of a good peaceful action met with US police Brutality

And [Israeli Apartheid] “Law Enforcement” Destroys Prayer House, Homes, School – Just Because They’re for Arabs

UN assembly passes 6 resolutions on Mideast conflict
"Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and United States voted against each of the resolutions." [All other >180 countries voted for them with few abstentions]

*Taken from the book "Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of hope and empowerment" where you can find references/citation

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home

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